…well, not mine exactly, not anyone’s to be exact, but the notion of was what I’m still rolling about in my head. The notion of goodness is an act or deed, according to Hannah Arendt, that is not premeditated. That is to say that Arendt believes “the moment a good work becomes known and public, it loses its specific character of goodness, of being done for nothing but ‘goodness’ sake” ( 215). I tend to agree with this, as the good deed seems much less like a good deed when the event becomes public, or is acknowledged.
That said, it is her notion of solitude in conjunction with goodness that struck me most, considering our previous conversations about solitude. A quote from Arendt says that (the use of ‘man’ singular is important in the fact that it is singular) “the man who is in love with goodness can never afford to lead a solitary life, and yet his living with others and for others must remain essentially without testimony and lacks first of all the company of himself. He is not solitary, but lonely” (216). Thus, are we to assume loneliness is a derivative of trying to maintain what is perceived to be a good life?
i agree that there is no true altruism except that which is anonymous. i’ve always felt that. as soon as the good deed becomes public, it becomes about the doer, not the deed.
It makes me wonder if the reverse doesn’t hold true as well, about evil. Arendt’s theory of the “banality of evil” seems to suggest something in this, but I haven’t read that far ahead.